28 September 2022

Bench unveiled in memory of organ donors whose gifts transforms lives

To mark Organ Donation Week this year we unveiled a new bench, overlooking the lagoon at Conquest Hospital, in memory of people from the trust who became organ donors.

Last year, seven families at the trust agreed to organ donation resulting in 15 patients receiving a life-saving or life-changing transplant.

Dr Judith Highgate, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, opened the event saying:

“Organ donation is a gift, granted at the darkest moments in a family’s life. A gift that transforms the lives of strangers. Strangers who may never get to express their thanks or learn about the individual who changed their lives so significantly. These acts of kindness deserve recognition.

“The bench has a plaque engraved with the words, ‘A gift of life, another tomorrow’. Once the ground is suitable, two Himalayan cherry trees will be planted next to the bench.

“While a bench is a mere token when considering the loss of a loved one, it is our hope that this bench provides place for quiet remembrance of a life lived and those saved. A place close to nature where families may find some peace to reflect on their loved ones. A place where all are welcome, in the hopes that it sparks conversations among those living.”

Several families attended and brought messages and flowers to attach to the bench. Rupert Kirby, member of the Organ Donation Committee and father of a kidney transplant recipient, said:

“We feel such gratitude as a family for the transplant our son James received nearly 10 years ago. After his transplant, James competed in the transplant games where he won a series of medals at table tennis and badminton. His transplant still allows him to live a fulfilling life as a young adult.”

Vicky and her dad Horace were another of donor families present. Vicky recalled:

“We felt no hesitation when organ donation was brought up as part of mum’s end-of-life care planning. She had told us she wanted to be an organ donor, so we knew exactly what to do despite being faced with a very unexpected loss.”

You can register your decision to donate and find out more about what organ donation means on the NHS Organ Donation website

Thank you to Jati, for kindly donating the bench.